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Knowledge gaps

An extensive review of the literature has identified a number of gaps in our knowledge, both on the potential impacts of climate change on terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity, and the potential for natural adaptation in species and ecosystems.

What we don’t know – Species

  • The thermal and physiological tolerances, and natural resilience and adaptive capacity, of most species
  • How changes to the timing of life history processes (such as breeding and migration) will affect survival, reproduction, and species-interactions
  • How to ameliorate the cascading effects of mismatches between interacting species (predators and prey, flowers and their pollinators, etc).
  • Where taxa will retreat to (refugia) and how these areas can be best managed
  • The ability of species to resist and/or recover from extreme events

 What we don’t know – Ecosystems

  • How changes in palatability of grass and leaves (associated with changing CO2) will affect native and non-native herbivores
  • How the interactions among weeds, grazing and land use change and potential for increased vulnerability to invasive plants will change
  • How climate and enhanced CO2 will interact to affect fire regimes, and how fire regimes will interact with invasive species
  • How changes in the cloud layer will influence communities in high elevation regions
  • Short and long-term impacts of extreme events such as heat waves, storm surges and cyclones

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